Letters to the Editor

Readers write about bullet trains, public housing, and Gaza.

A trained workforce?

Regarding the Opinion piece, "US bullet trains to the rescue": The problem with the US and "bullet trains" is simple. We do not have a workforce that has the ability to build the bullet train.

I have been witness to the change in the workforce from one of majority manufacturing to majority service.

This service workforce does not possess the manual ability to build a world-class transportation system.

Recommended: Commentary

Robert Wilkins  
Apple Valley, Calif. 

There's a place for public housing

In regard to the Jan. 31 opinion piece, "Public housing for the poor: Mend it, don't end it": Uprooting the tens of thousands of families in public housing across the nation forced to vacate their apartments because of the factors the authors cite has enormous emotional and practical consequences.

Valuable networks are broken – "root shock," as Columbia University psychiatrist Mindy Thompson Fullilove terms it in her book of that title.

In the early 1960s, I documented exactly that phenomenon when Boston's West End neighborhood was torn down and its 7,500 residents scattered. (In his book on that pernicious urban renewal project, sociologist Herbert J. Gans called the neighborhood an "urban village.")

As the Opinion piece noted, the Atlanta story is repeated in many, many cities – Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, and others.

And the foreclosure crisis has added tens of thousands of evictees to the already far too large ranks, creating homelessness and lack of food, medical care, and other life necessities as new and higher rents consume more than half of a family's budget.

Despite some problems and exaggerated media focus on those problems, most public housing is highly successful, sorely needed, and the only real option for many Americans.

Chester Hartman  
Director of research, Poverty & Race Research Action Council 
Washington  

Show both sides

In response to the article, "Gaza's high-stakes prisoner swap" (Jan. 31): A truly balanced account would have featured an Israeli family shattered by terrorism that would face the reignited threat of murder at the hands of these prisoners.

Someone like Wafa Al-Biss, who consciously seeks to murder innocent civilians, deserves not a single line of empathetic newsprint, much less an entire page.

If the Monitor insists on humanizing a terrorist, at least portray the other side. Show how the swap would affect a family of Israelis, and let readers draw their own conclusions.

Jackie Schechter  
Junior, Westhill High School
Stamford, Conn.

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